Arts News

‘Saturday’s Voyeur’ Goes ‘David Frost-esque’

For over 30 years, Salt Lake Acting Company has, with hilarious ingenuity, backhanded the state of Utah with its annual political and social satire, Saturday’s Voyeur. Just as in years past, writers Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht have had plenty of material to mock in our predominately ‘red state.’ The 2010 Saturday’s Voyeur: The Year That Was is “ripped straight from the headlines of Utah newspapers from the last 15 months.”

“It’s a chronological account of the past year in the news, starting March ’09 to now,” said director and choreographer Cynthia Fleming. It’s a tribute to the newspapers and press professionals because it’s their work that inspired the script.”

“This year, we were still totally engaged in many events that occurred over a year ago and decided to do a kind of David Frost-esque That Was the Week That Was, but for the year,” added Borgenicht. “We’ve never done a chronological account of the past year that all of us as a community have lived through. The connections are rich and layered.”

Scenes and musical numbers in The Year That Was that are inspired by headlines include: “Orrin Hatch, a Mormon, pens Hanukkah song,” “Congressman Chaffetz seeks to ban whole-body imaging at airports,” :‘Maverick’ Sarah Palin to sign new book at Salt Lake City Costco,” “Blanding arrests made in sale of Indian artifacts,” “Gary’s glitzy gala: Herbert raises one million dollars in elaborate fund raiser,” “Kevin Garn resigns in wake of hot tub confession,” “Wife blindfolded husband for ‘surprise,’ beat him with hammer” and “GOP opposes Ethics Initiative.”

QSaltlake’s coverage of “The Kiss Heard Round the World,” and perhaps some other media outlets, prompted a Voyeur scene that jabs at the detainment of Matt Aune and Derek Jones, a gay couple, for sharing a kiss on the Main Street Plaza last summer. However, this is not the only gay-inspired scene in the show: “Dancing With the Stars’ Len and Bruno inspire two homeless lovers played by Kent Harrison Hayes and Aaron Swenson,” Fleming reveals. “And when we visit Costco for the SLC Goin’ Rogue book signing, a transvestite Costco employee, played by Justin Ivie, serenades Sarah Palin with ‘She’s a Lady.’ At the state Legislature, we meet Christine Johnson, the lesbian lawmaker who is with child for a gay couple and has had her fill of ‘Utah Family Values.’”

Among the cast are returning “Voyeur veterans” Alexis Baigue, Jesse Pepe, Steven Fehr, Shannon Musgrave and Jeanette Puhich. Fleming has also cast four “Voyeur virgins” whom she is excited to have their talent on the stage. “Ashley Gardner Carlson is a technically brilliant dancer that raises the bar of our musical numbers,” said Fleming. “Brock Smith is a fantastic singer and a comedic giant in his embodiment of the Republican Bullies. Stephanie Chace Bass is an ice skater, gymnast, dancer, singer, political science major, flautist, aerialist, comedian — need I say more?” Also, “Voyeur virgin” Victoria Elena Nones reprises, as seen at the 2010 Utah Pride Festival, her role as Sarah Palin, and about who Fleming said “knocked us out at our callback auditions with her fearless full throttle portrayal.”

Though Fleming is extremely pleased with the entire production this year, she said a couple of her favorite scenes are: “In the Plaza kissing scene, our Plaza singers croon ‘Groovin’ as Deeda Seed, played by Jeanette Puhich, revisits her Kiss-In protest.” And, “At the close of the 2010 Legislature, the weary and defeated Democrats rally and sing this really fantastic, cathartic song, ‘Enough is Enough,’ inspired by Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer — it’s a really great moment.”

The Year That Was opens June 30 and runs through Sept. 30. Performances tend to sell out quickly, as Voyeur is one of the most popular shows in the city, so purchasing tickets early is advised. Small coolers and picnic baskets may be brought into the performances. “Come party and play at SLAC and enjoy an amazing night of theatre and fun,” Fleming encouraged.

Tickets range from $39–54, discounts available for groups of 10 or more, call call 801-363-SLAC or visit saltlakeactingcompany.org.

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